Costs for Overdose Antidote Skyrocket Alongside Demand

In an effort to combat the rise of heroin overdose deaths officials across the state and country are working to expand access to naloxone, a medicine that reverses the effects of a heroin or other opioid overdose, by training and equipping law enforcement and first repsonders as well as friends and families of heroin addicts with the medicine. However, costs for the lifesaving medicine have skyrocketed alongside the demand for it. As reported in The Baltimore Business Journal:

Baltimore wants to train some 2,000 police officers, who are often the first on scene of an emergency, to carry and administer the drug. The city also wants to expand existing training programs for friends and family of addicts.

But as the price of naloxone skyrockets, health officials worry about how many people they will be able to reach. The cost of the medication has increased 111 percent just since June, from $19.56 to $41.43 for a 2 milliliter dose. The cost of a naloxone kit, which includes the medication and the plastic applicators needed to administer the drug as a nasal spray, has increased by 50 percent over the last six months to $95.

Baltimore could have afforded 3,600 kits with the state and federal grants it has received to support its naloxone program if the price of naloxone hadn’t spiked, but now it can afford only 2,000 kits.

“There are very few diseases for which there is a complete cure that can stop death,” said Dr. Leana Wen, the city’s newly minted health commissioner. “It’s a tragedy for anyone to die of an overdose if the reason is we can not get this medication into their hands, and those of their friends and family.”

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Business Journal.